How is it that we blink and nearly a decade has flown by!!!
It’s amazing that we are already making summer plans, isn’t it?
In July, I’m privileged to be a mentor at a Design and DIY blogging conference called Haven and they asked us to do a few short question and answers to introduce ourselves. (I wish I had more time to go into all the nitty, gritty facts and fun stories that I have to share, but I have a HUGE writing deadline hanging over me so I’ll save that for another time.)
Some of my very best blogging friends are those ladies in the home decor field and they bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. While I leaned more DIY in my earlier blogging days, I’m definitely a lifestyle blogger now meaning I cover a vast range of topics, including recipes, finances, faith, parenting topics as well as some easy and fun DIY projects.
There’s nothing I love more than encouraging women on this journey, especially face to face, and I can’t wait to meet so many new friends
1. How long have you been blogging?
I’ll never forget the day I sat at our one, old, desktop computer and tried to brainstorm a name to use for my blog.
I didn’t really even know what a blog was at the time and had no intention of ever really writing one, but I knew that I wanted to be able to have my tiny picture pop up next to blog post comments and in order to do that, I needed a blogspot name (yes, times have changed).
Always one for alliteration, I thought about what my days consisted of with five children at home. It was a constant challenge of trying to find beauty amidst the chaotic of mothering while actively seeking magical moments in the mundane and thus Balancing Beauty and Bedlam was born.
That was nearly nine years ago, which makes me an ancient grandma in the blogging world. Pinterest and Instagram (find me here) weren’t even a thought and I hadn’t even started a Facebook account yet. Those of us who began blogging back then are like the ones who trudged through miles of snow to get to school and can speak to all the changes we’ve seen.
It’s such a privilege to have been on the cusp of this whole new way of life – social media has changed everything – and we are able to learn, create, connect and discover so much because of it.
I’ve been quieter on my blog this past year. Life with five children – three teenagers, two college aged and then our eldest who just got engaged has reminded me of how quickly these years are flying by and it’s been a joy to be fully present with them, while also working on projects behind the scenes.
2. What is something you love about blogging and what is something you wish you could change?
That flexibility is such a gift that only the unique world of blogging has allowed me. The chance to work from home, but also to be my own boss is the best of both worlds. I’ve had a vast array of amazing opportunities through blogging. From speaking and writing to brand spokesperson positions, I’ve traveled throughout the US with my blog, but I’d say a truly life changing highlight was traveling to Peru as a Compassion International blogger with Angie Smith and Layla and Kevin of The Lettered Cottage (who will also be mentors.)
Another reason I’ve been quieter is that I’m punching away at these keys, but instead of blog posts, I’m under contract for a book manuscript that’s due in a few weeks on everyday, imperfect hospitality. I’m so excited about it’s message and feel so passionately about encouraging women to open their homes just as they are. As soon as that is completed, I’ll be jumping into writing a bible study and filming DVDs to coordinate with that through Lifeway.
After six years of hosting my own women’s conference The Becoming Conference: frugal, purposeful and creative , I’m taking a year off to finish these writing projects. We’ve averaged around 400-500 women a year (even hit 600 which was a bit crazy) and it’s always one of my favorite weekends. I’ll be sad to not connect with our attendees this year, but I can’t wait to dive into spending time with the ladies at Haven. Becoming will happen again in April 2018 in Asheville, NC.
The biggest thing I wish I could change was to go back to the “old” days of blogging before everything needed to be magazine quality and there were so many different social media platforms added. My blog grew because of the real life, authentic nature of sharing life with readers and that’s still my heart. Community actually occurred in the comments, meaningful discussions took place and believe it or not, lots of real life friends were made just from that. Now it’s become very competitive and it’s hard to keep up because so much emphasis is placed on the “image” of varying platforms with perfectly photographed, pinterest perfect living.
For me, my desire is that when you meet me in real life, you will feel like you’ve known me forever and I’m exactly the same online as I am in person. I will never stop encouraging women to embrace life right where they’re embracing authentic lives with laundry piled on the sofa and all. Unfortunately, it means that creating beautifully pin-able photos isn’t my forte like the other mentors, but sharing life in abundance? I’m your girl. And hopefully, my someday dream of building a large barn/event venue will allow for us to all hang out more regularly on our homestead. 😉
3. What is your favorite DIY project that you have completed?
It is odd that one of my favorite DIY projects is the very first large piece of furniture I ever painted with chalk paint over five years ago? Two friends came and helped me paint my ugly brown hutch and like many of you, it revolutionized my life. Since then I’ve painted probably 100 items with chalk paint, but this one is still my most favorite and dramatic.
4. What is something useful you have learned from a blog conference?
The first blogging conference I went to changed my life because I had no clue you could even make money through a blog. Now granted, that was years ago when both brands and bloggers were figuring it out together, but blog conferences will give you the tools to take your blog to the next level. You may feel overwhelmed with where to start, but just pick one aspect that you really want to focus in on and ask as many questions as you can.
5. What is one piece of advice you would offer a blogger–new or otherwise–who is going to Haven?
Soak up the classes and all the information, but the most important aspect will be the wonderful connections you can make. It’s so important to know you aren’t alone on this crazy adventure and being able to talk “shop” with others who “get us” and this unique profession is the best part.
Ok, I’m having to keep my answers on the short side because I have a 55,000 word book DUE NEXT WEEK!!! ACK! Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose, right? 🙂
If you’d love to meet some more inspiring and creative women, check out my fellow mentors below. Their blogs are fabulous. Enjoy!